Interview: Danny Birt

Danny BirtDanny Birt: writer, musician, teacher, music therapist, massage therapist–all around creative, really. And a very, very fun interview subject….

Which came first for you, in a practical sense: creating music or writing? How about in a professional sense–which one did you begin promoting first, and why?

Unless I was a lot more cognitively developed than I remember as an infant, I bet music creation came first.  True, I was creating stories before I could write them down, but music is even more naturally built-in to human beings.

Promotion-wise, I had my first CD, Narcoleptic Pianist, out before my first epic fantasy book, Ending an Ending, but actually attending events for live promotion started with the book’s release; the CD was a tagalong.  Promoting a classical piano CD is a tad difficult — it’s not something a large chunk of the population is going to get “excited” about and tell all their friends to check out, if you know what I mean.

How long have you been promoting yourself as a musician/writer? What have been the high/low points of that process?

My promotional efforts for my creative endeavors hit their stride in 2006 when I started giving book signings at Renaissance Festivals and being a panelist and guest at science fiction/fantasy conventions.

The low point of my promotion efforts happened in my first book tour through the New England area, when on one of my stops I found that the store had put “so much effort” into co-promotion that they had forgotten I was coming until I arrived.  (Ah, the glamorous life of an author!)

RocAndHardPlaceThe high point of my promotion… I have to choose two points.  The first time I was a Guest of Honor at a SFF convention was definitely exciting (yay, Madicon!).  The other high point was when my first Young Adult book, Between a Roc and a Hard Place, won some awards.

Among your currently produced works, both musical and written, what are your two personal favorites and why?

On the literary side, my favorite is Between a Roc and a Hard Place.  From the technical perspective, every literary challenge I set for myself I was able to accomplish, and the writing is some of my tightest ever.  From the storytelling perspective, the story is as compelling to adults and children as it is to the young adult population, the characters are easy to connect with, and, lastly, the story has a particular use with a specific population — offering adopted kids and teens another perspective on what it means to be family.  (The story is about a baby dragon who is abandoned as an egg and is raised by a family of birds.)

On the musical side, the first musical work my mind came up with today (it might change at different times) is a filk song called The Silent Letter Blues. The musicality is not my flashiest and the lyrics are not my most humorous, but despite my lack of personal enthusiasm for the song, it has become one of my audience’s favorite requests at live performances.  And, you know what?  To a performer who is trained as a music therapist, that’s the point.  I may have written the music, but once I start sharing it, the music is no longer about me.Otter Teas

If you could work in a completely different field and with absolute surety of being successful at it, which career would you choose and why? 

Given that (the way I see it) my careers are in the general fields of creating things and helping people, I wonder what sort of work exists which I would enjoy but doesn’t have anything to do with either of my current fields?  Hmm…  Professional ferret wrangler, perhaps?

Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? What are your long term goals as a creative professional?

In order, the answers to your questions are:

1. Earth

2. Earth still (probably)

3. Create.

4. Chickens.

….thank you, Danny!

We look forward to finding out more about your plans for the chickens….

A chicken with a question. Or a question with a chicken. You decide.